Debt collectors: We face risks too

Debt collectors: We face risks too

Staff members of JMS ROGERS® Associates, a debt collecting agency, talking to a debtor (in red T-shirt) who owes her former business partner $530,000, at the foot of her block in Commonwealth

By Esther Ng
The New Paper
Monday, Oct 29, 2012

SINGAPORE - With their burly physique, tattoos across their arms and menacing demeanour, they can be an intimidating sight.

They have been made out to be the bane of other people's existence, debt collectors claim that their job is no walk in the park either.

Mr Moses Michael, 47, the corporate director of JMS ROGERS® Associates, a debt collecting agency, told The New Paper that borrowers sometimes try to frame them to avoid making payment.

His said that, aside from licensed moneylenders, his company also collects for multinational companies, small businesses and individuals who hire its services.

He said: "We had a case where the borrower had damaged his flower pots and then called the police to say that it was our men who did it.

"We managed to prove that we weren't at fault as we had a digital recording of the whole incident which was shown to the police officer."

Mr Michael also claimed that the lives of his men were sometimes at risk - when the borrowers pick up weapons such as knives and choppers, taunting them to step into their homes.

He said that by stepping into their homes, the borrowers are easily able to turn around and say that they are trespassing, which is an offence.

Operating in teams of four men, Mr Michael said his debt collection officers always have a plan of action before carrying out their job.

They will head to the nearest police station to inform police officers before visiting the borrower's home or workplace.

To avoid causing panic in public, they will put up a six-foot-high banner to notify people that a legal debt collection is in progress.

However, if the borrower is especially elusive, more than one team of four will be deployed.

For instance, on Thursday evening, 11 of his staff, including Mr Michael, met a borrower at Commonwealth Avenue West, while another team of four waited at another address in Bishan.